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Can Cats Eat Dog Food? You will be satisfied to know!

The simple answer is yes, a cat may consume a tiny bit of dog without experiencing any harm or long-term repercussions.
Can cats eat dog food?

The most asked vet question: Can cats eat dog food. The extended response, on the other hand, delves into the species-specific distinctions between our feline and canine companions. While a sliver of stolen dog food will not damage cats, it will not help them attain their optimum health.

Here’s what you need to know about cat nutrition, as well as why you shouldn’t give dog food to cats in the long run.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food Long-Term?

No, cats cannot survive on a dog food diet.

If a cat is solely given dog chow for an extended length of time, it may have negative, if not fatal, implications.

This is due to the fact that dog food and cat food formulae include different nutritional components in order to suit the nutritional demands of these two species.

What do cats need to eat?

Cats, like carnivores, need meals heavy in protein, fat, and taurine. The Cornell Feline Health Center recommends that cats consume:

  • Meat and fish protein
  • Taurine and arginine are two amino acids (from meat or fish)
  • The fatty acids
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water – Many veterinarians feel that protein should account for 35 to 45 percent of a cat’s diet

Differences Between Cat Food and Dog Food

Here are a few important distinctions between dog food and cat food formulations.


Cats and dogs have distinct taste perceptions. Cats, unlike dogs, are unable to detect sweetness, and the number of taste receptors differs between the two species. Cats have just 470 taste buds, whereas dogs have 1700 (humans have about 9000).

Cat meals are particularly designed to be very appetising in order to convince our often fussy (and taste-bud deficient) feline pals to eat. Side note: Cats seldom like to consume dog food since it is unappealing to them. Dogs, on the other hand, like the wonderful, high-protein composition of cat food.


Cats, being severe carnivores by nature, need food with a far greater protein level than dog kibble.

Occasional brands and kinds of dog food have greater protein levels, however even these specialised dog meals do not meet the high protein amounts found in most cat foods to keep cats healthy.

Most dog feeds include 18-26% protein. For cats, however, I normally suggest aiming for a protein content of 30-34% with an optional supplement of canned cat food containing 40-50% protein.


Cats (and humans) are among the few species that cannot produce taurine, thus they must get this crucial nutrient from their food.

Cats that do not get enough taurine in their diet may develop:

  • Heart problems
  • Visual impairment
  • Problems with digestion

Taurine is now incorporated into every commercially available cat food; however, it is seldom included in dog meals.

Arachidonic Acid

Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that cats cannot produce; it must be consumed. This fatty acid is extracted from everyday ingredients such as poultry, eggs, seafood, and meats – all of which are found in cat foods.

Cats with low arachidonic-acid levels exhibit nonspecific symptoms of sickness, such as:

  • Abnormal liver/kidney function
  • Increased skin problems occur on occasion.
  • Because dogs can produce this fatty acid on their own, it is seldom added to dog food.

Vitamin A

Another nutritional ingredient that cats cannot synthesise on their own and must be supplied in their food is vitamin A.

While vitamin A supplements are often found in dog meals, they are never in sufficient quantities for optimum cat nutrition.

Cats that are deficient in vitamin A will have:

  • Coats of poor quality
  • Muscle degeneration and weakness
  • Night blindness is a possibility.


Niacin must be included in a cat’s diet since cats cannot produce it.

Animal tissue is the most prevalent source of niacin in cat diet, however plants may contain trace amounts. However, a meal having less animal tissue and more plant tissue, such as grains, may not provide cats with the necessary quantities of niacin.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that cats may consume dog food for a limited time, but not indefinitely. The fact is that when your pets temporarily switch foods, there is really no cause for alarm. Nevertheless, prolonged feeding of dog food might result in your cat being undernourished, but a little taste of your dog’s food won’t harm it. So you can rest easy knowing your feline friend will be just okay!

To find out more about The Feline World, be sure to read through our other posts found below.

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